The Singapore Mathematics Curriculum Development—A Mixed Model Approach

Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)


Singapore has a history of having a national mathematics curriculum, which is produced and disseminated by the Ministry of Education, exemplifying a deductive approach towards mathematical curriculum development (Olivia, Developing the curriculum, 2009). This Chapter presents, through three case studies of school-based curriculum innovations, how the development of mathematics curriculum in Singapore has evolved from a deductive to containing elements of both the deductive and inductive approaches—a mixed model approach. Through the eyes of the three case-studies, advantages to such a mixed model approach towards mathematics curriculum development will be presented. Key contributing factors for the success of such a mixed model approach will be elicited through an analysis of these case studies as well.


Singapore mathematics curriculum Models of curriculum development School-based curriculum innovation 


  1. Charles, R., Lester, F., & O’Daffer, P. (1987). How to evaluate progress in problem solving. Reston: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Google Scholar
  2. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Erlbaum. Google Scholar
  3. Collars, C., Koay, P. L., Lee, N. H., & Tan, C. S. (2007). Shaping maths teacher’s resource CD-ROM 3. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish. Google Scholar
  4. Engaging multiple intelligences in the math classroom (2011, November/December). SingTeach. Retrieved from
  5. Gardner, H. (1985). Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books. Google Scholar
  6. Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: the theory in practice. New York: Basic Books. Google Scholar
  7. Hong, S. E., Lee, N. H., & Yeo, J. S. D. (2012). A metacognitive approach in kick-starting the understanding and planning phases of mathematical problem solving. In ICME-12, the 12th international congress on mathematical education—pre-proceedings, TSG22-3. Seoul: ICME-12. Google Scholar
  8. Kaur, B. (1995). An investigation of children’s knowledge and strategies in mathematical problem solving. Unpublished master’s thesis, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Google Scholar
  9. Lee, N. H. (2008a). Nation building initiative: impact on Singapore mathematics curriculum. In M. Niss (Ed.), 10th international congress on mathematical education proceedings (CD). Copenhagen: Roskilde University. Google Scholar
  10. Lee, N. H. (2008b). Enhancing mathematical learning and achievement of secondary one normal (academic) students using metacognitive strategies. Unpublished PhD thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Google Scholar
  11. Lee, N. H. (2010). The role and nature of curriculum frameworks in mathematics curriculum development initiatives. In Y. Shimizu, Y. Sekiguchi, & K. Hino (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th East Asian regional conference on mathematics education (EARCOME5): in search of excellence in mathematics education (pp. 607–614). Tokyo: Japan Society of Mathematics Education. Google Scholar
  12. Lee, N. H., & Abdul Rasip, A. (2010, August). Sustainability of school-based curriculum initiatives—lessons drawn from igniting passion in mathematics through multiple intelligences. Poster session presented at the 5th East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education, Tokyo, Japan. Google Scholar
  13. Lee, N. H., & Ferrucci, B. (2012). Enhancing learning of fraction through the use of virtual manipulatives. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics & Technology, 6(2). Google Scholar
  14. Lee, N. H., Abdul Rasip, R., Othman, S., & Sam, H. (2008, November). School-based curriculum initiative—the case of igniting passion in mathematics through multiple intelligences. Paper presented at APERA Conference 2008—Educational Research for Innovation & Quality in Education: Policy & Pedagogical Engagements Across Contexts, Singapore. Google Scholar
  15. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011a). Curriculum development: deductive model. Schooling, 2(1). Google Scholar
  16. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011b). Curriculum development: inductive model. Schooling, 2(1). Google Scholar
  17. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011c). Key components of a curriculum plan: objectives, content, and learning experiences. Schooling, 2(1). Google Scholar
  18. Mindellhall, P., Swan, P., Northcote, P., & Marshall, L. (2008). Virtual manipulatives on the interactive whiteboard: a preliminary investigation. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 13(1), 9–14. Google Scholar
  19. Ministry of Education (2006). Mathematics syllabus—primary, 2007. Singapore: Author. Google Scholar
  20. Ministry of Education (2008, January 8). More support for school’s “teach less, learn more” initiatives [Press Releases]. Retrieved from
  21. Ministry of Education (2012a). O-level mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Author. Google Scholar
  22. Ministry of Education (2012b). Primary mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Author. Google Scholar
  23. Ng, S. F. (2009). The Singapore primary mathematics curriculum. In P. Y. Lee & N. H. Lee (Eds.), Teaching primary school mathematics—a resource book (2nd ed., pp. 15–34). Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education. Google Scholar
  24. Olivia, P. F. (2009). Developing the curriculum (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education. Google Scholar
  25. Polya, G. (1957). How to solve it (2nd ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
  26. Taba, H. (1962). Curriculum development: theory and practice. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Google Scholar
  27. Tan, J., Lim, C. A. C., & Tan, K. C. (2011). Impact of use of manipulative materials in the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach on pupils’ engagement and conceptual understanding. Poster presented at 4th Redefining Pedagogy International Conference 2011, Singapore. Google Scholar
  28. The Straits Times (1999). Preparing people for challenges—addenda to the president’s address. Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings. Google Scholar
  29. Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
  30. Wong, K. Y. (2004, July). Using muti-modal think-board to teach mathematics. Paper presented for TSG14: Innovative Approaches to the Teaching of Mathematics at ICME-10, Copenhagen, Denmark. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations